2009 Piaggio MP3 500: The Mean Scooter


If you thought scooters can't attract the same attention as a 1000cc hog, the 2009 Piaggio MP3 500 just might be the ride that changes your mind.  The aggressive-looking, fun-riding three-wheeled maxi-scooter takes the conventional idea of a cool motorcyle and turns it over on its head.

Scooters have long been one of the most ideal transportation options for lone-riding motorists. Yet, many parts of the world still see a lack of adoption for the mild-mannered two-wheeler.  Whether it be their lack of power or the flimsy appearance that turns the majority of people off, Piaggio's MP3 series has long made a good case for redefining cool on the road - and the larger, meaner-looking model 500 makes sure it can't be ignored.

Unlike full-fledged motorcycles which come with a manual gearbox that you'l need to master, the MP3 500 rocks a step-less CVT transmission, spurring the ride to move with just the twist of a throttle.   With a top speed of 89 mph and a 0 to 60 of 9.7 seconds, it ain't too shabby in the power department either.  It's real claim to fame, of course, like its smaller brothers, is the tilting parallelogram front suspension design, which allows it to lean to one side, without ever getting in danger of keeling over.

With its two front wheels, the MP3 500 is one of the safest maxi-scooters around, ensuring the bikes never falls down even after running through pot holes, humps or steel plates.  There's no need to even put your foot down when at a stoplight, either, as the wheels can straighten out to hold the thing vertically even at a standstill.  Physically, it's one of the most attractive scooters you'll ever see with those well-defined lines.  Hell, you can pretend it's Batman's bike and I'm sure more than a few kids will believe you.

It's a great alternative to a dorky econocar if gas mileage is an issue to you.  While it isn't cheap at $8,899, it's one ride that will definitely stand out, whether you're banking it at a corner or just waiting out a red light.

[Piaggio USA via Be Sportier]

5 Responses

  1. Jason C

    0-60 in 9.7s? I was expecting much better. Even the 6x weight Prius is not much slower and gets similar gas mileage.

    • Bob

      The 0-60 9.7s can’t be accurate. Although I wasn’t timing myself, when I test rode the 250cc MP3 it surely did better than this. I’ve seen other quotes of the 500cc doing 0-60 in 4.9s, which sounds about right.

      Author needs to fact check.

  2. Brian K

    I have had a 2009 MP3 500 for the past 3 months. I have over 1400 miles on it already. I was on vacation this week and rode down to Panama City Fl and back, a trip of over 400 miles. This scooter rode great (my butt was a bit sore, but I am 54). Every time I go anywhere I need to add 10 minutes at least to my trip time, to answer the people that just walk up to me. I love it. And I agree on the 500cc the 0-60 is a hell of a lot quicker than 9.7.

  3. Dark Knight

    I got the 2009 mp3 500. First impresson/ride,”wow.” I consistenly check the weather for rain so I could get another day of riding. This bike definitely does 0-60 less than 9.7sec. Now as for speed. the meter has 110mph, the book says 89mph, I weigh 210 and rode mine up to 100mph, head down straight way. I haven’t taken it on a long trip yet, but I have put 5k miles on it within the 2 months i’ve had.

    Only problem is: Don’t buy if you don’t feel like talking with onlookers stoping you at the redlight, traffic stops, etc, asking questions about it.

  4. The Dude

    Piaggio MP3 500 is awesome. It is faster than the article says it is. Regardless of that just try one out, take it for a test ride and youll see how great it really is.


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